Santa Clarita Encore Chorale seeks senior fans of showtunes

The Santa Clarita Encore Chorale performs at their 2019 winter concert. Roberta Kessler

Senior show-tune lovers should start warming up their vocal cords.

The Santa Clarita Encore Chorale will begin rehearsals Jan. 10  for the group’s spring semester concert, “Encore Goes to the Theater.” Featuring songs selections from both Broadway productions and Hollywood hits, the concert caters to lovers of musical theater and film. 

“I usually choose the songs but last year I wanted the rest of the members to participate in that process more, so I asked them and everyone got really excited about this theme and sent me lists of song ideas,” said Cheri Walters, choir conductor for the chorale. “Since a lot of Broadway shows also have Hollywood pictures, we thought that ‘a night at the theater’ hits both of those audiences. We like doing a lot of modern songs, too, so we’ll have everything from ‘Fiddler on the Rood’ and ‘Mama Mia’ to ‘The Greatest Showman.’”

The 40-member, 55-and-older chorale was formed in 2015 as an affiliate of National Encore Creativity for Older Adults, which was created as part of a study by the National Institute of Health to discover the positive effects music has on aging.

“Being part of the chorale helps proper breathing and it gets them not only physically active but also mentally because they’re learning the new music we give them,” Walters said.

When board President Roberta Kessler started the group in 2015 she thought it would be a fun thing for the seniors in the community to do, but it grew into an enjoyable part of the community for all ages.

“When we’re up there singing and people in the audience from kids to other seniors are clapping and singing along, it’s such a fun feeling and it’s great because the songs we do are classics, not classical, so people are familiar with them,” Kessler said. “Part of the reason we’re so good is because Cheri is such a good conductor and she really knows how to make us all sound so good.”

“There’s no audition required to join our group,” Kessler said. “It’s more about singing, breathing and being together than it is to be a strict academic music group. The rehearsals are my favorite part of the chorale because we’re making friends and it’s rewarding making music with other people.”

Rehearsals for the Santa Clarita Encore Chorale’s spring concert begin on Jan. 10 from 4:30 to 5 p.m. at the Newhall Church of the Nazarene, 23857 The Old Road near Calgrove Boulevard and Interstate 5. There will be 14 weeks of rehearsals culminating in a free concert on April 24 at 7 p.m. Members of the chorale pay a $150 fee to cover facility and music costs. However, the people interested in joining may try their first rehearsal for free.

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